I had pretty good seats to watch it this year, and here are my thoughts:
1) Deadly99 and Trailtrick speak the truth re: hopscotching. I'd love to go with Javier, he knows the terrain like very few and will definitely get you to the good spots.
2) There's a lot of pavement riding in the race... which means that you have a lot of riding to do at the same speed as the racers, just to handle liasion. However, there were several stages last year where the racers made a loop or backtracked, making it easier to keep up. I'd pick the stages I wanted to follow carefully, and base the decision somewhat on terrain but more on the strategy of keeping up.
3) The best places to view were not near paved roads. You need to go on something that is off-road capable to see more than gas stops/ lame dirt sections. Would be well worth the hassle to get to some of the good spots where Locals were (and Javier could help with this)- big sand hillclimbs, etc that would be a thrill all day.
4) Don't forget to enjoy where you are... SA is awesome, Dakar is like a bubble passing through, a little time in the bubble is cool but time outside of it is maybe cooler.